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Carlos Beltran free agency: 3rd year a 'deal-breaker' with Yankees

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Beltran is one of the most popular free agents on the market this year, but may be seeking too much for the Yankees.

Elsa

The New York Yankees are rumored to be chasing Carlos Beltran to help the team in the outfield with free agent Curtis Granderson likely departing. However, the team is only willing to give a two-year deal while Beltran is seeking three, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York.

Beltran seemingly has no end to his suitors this offseason with the Yankees, Mets, Royals, Mariners, Rangers and others all coming up in rumors for the outfielder. However, Beltran will be entering his age-37 season, making teams wary of a long-term deal. A third season would take him into his 40s and, despite playing well the last few years, it won't necessarily keep up forever.

Beltran hit .296/.339/.491 with 24 home runs in 145 games with the Cardinals in 2013. His 830 OPS is a far cry from 2009 and 2011, when he hit for over a 900 OPS. However, in those two seasons, he has showed that he can still have value to a contending team, and did so while in a pitcher's park, too.

This offseason, whomever is willing to give Beltran a third year first could be the team to land him. He took a two year deal worth $26 million to play with the Cardinals and will likely be looking at a similar contract this year if that third season never materializes. The Yankees would love for that contract to be with them and are willing to give him $14 million per season -- they just won't add on that pesky additional year.

The Yankees would like to improve an outfield that posted a combined 696 OPS in 2013, fourth-worst in the majors. Curtis Granderson barely played last season due to injury and is likely leaving as a free agent. A trade for Alfonso Soriano helped some, but Ichiro Suzuki has lost much of his luster in right field, and there is no guarantee Vernon Wells even makes it to Opening Day with how little of his salary New York is responsible for. The Yankees are also interested in free agent outfielder Nate McLouth. McLouth would be a much cheaper option to help the team stay under the $189 million luxury tax. However, he would likely be used in a platoon role with Ichiro or Soriano, not as a full-time player like Beltran, so there is a cost associated with their thriftiness.

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